The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) and the Council for Geoscience of South Africa will present a vision for a shared EU-Africa infrastructure geoscience on 22 February 2021 at 12h00CET online.
The meeting will be organised as part of the AERAP EU-Africa science collaboration platform. It will be designed to input into the forthcoming EU-Africa summit during the Portuguese Counsel Presidency. Although the summit date has yet to be finalised, the EU Strategy for Africa and the launch of Horizon Europe and the Neighbourhood, International Cooperation and Development Instrument (NDICI) can benefit from the contribution of the EU and African geosciences community.
In line with UN SDG 17, “partnerships for the goals”, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for socio-economic transformation and the European Commission’s Africa Strategy call for partnerships to achieve common goals. The foundation for a strong and enduring partnership needs to be rooted in our shared Earth, informed by the knowledge of what science and technology can bring. Justly achieving the green transition and the digital transformation while delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals requires a full understanding of our planet home.
Earth science provides the solutions for many aspects underpinning the European Green Deal and the circular economy, including water security, agricultural sustainability, energy security, raw materials availability, especially regarding the critical minerals necessary for decarbonisation, the blue economy, and community safety from geohazards including climate change.
Viable solutions to ensure carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050 must be based on accurate, reliable Earth-related data. Strategically collecting the vast amounts of necessary data will involve developing and constructing cutting-edge analytical platforms and instruments and numerous citizen science projects throughout our two continents.
A step-change in the digital environment is required to empower every African and European citizen to produce sustainable growth, create new jobs, and provide the promise of more virtual mobility through the new data’s availability. The revolution in earth science brought about by the big data generated through AU-EU research partnerships will require additional ICT infrastructure in Africa and Europe and the development of data analysis and management skills, especially for younger generations and particularly women.
Beyond the direct data and related knowledge gained, an AU-EU earth science partnership would also yield exciting new insights in geodesy and geodynamics and are likely to influence existing fundamental scientific paradigms in various other areas from astronomy to zoology.
An AU-EU partnership in earth sciences can be leveraged by expanding the existing cooperation between the Organization of African Geological Surveys (OAGS) and the European Geological Surveys (EGS) such as PanAfGeo which has been ongoing since 2016. iCRAG, which is a large multi-institution research group working across the full spectrum of earth science and sustainability topics in both Europe and Africa, is ideally placed and actively seeking to aid in ensuring an AU-EU partnership delivers on goals critical to addressing the primary challenges outlined in European Commission’s comprehensive strategy with Africa.
Further details and registration are available here